Icoria, Inc. has announced that it had received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health, worth close to $800,000.
The Phase II contract supports the application of metabolomics and gene expression analysis in the study of alcohol-related diseases, including liver and brain injury, in a study program entitled, “Metabolomics: Alcohol Induced Toxicity.”
The contract is the second Phase II SBIR contract Icoria has been awarded this year. The company previously announced the receipt of a separate $1.2 million SBIR contract in a Current Report on Form 8-K and press release issued August 29, 2005.
“Together, the two Phase II SBIR contracts help to support our biomarker discovery efforts on a broad set of liver pathologies that span a variety of mechanisms,” said Thomas Colatsky, Ph.D., Icoria’s Chief Scientific Officer.
“By using metabolomics and gene expression to analyze different forms of liver toxicity, we hope to identify new biomarkers for liver disease that should have utility in the development of highly-informative, minimally invasive diagnostics covering acute as well as more chronic liver-related diseases, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”
In June 2004, Icoria announced Phase I of this contract, which was undertaken in collaboration with the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
In Phase I, Icoria used metabolomics to identify key biochemicals in the liver, brain and plasma that correlated with changes in tissue pathology.
Phase I of the contract was completed in March of this year. After reviewing the results, the NIAAA approved Phase II of the contract.
Phase II will extend the Phase I findings to include gene expression analysis in liver, brain and whole blood.
Icoria will probe this rich and expanded data set to identify biomarkers of liver and brain toxicity and to explore mechanisms involved in both alcohol dependence and withdrawal.